Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Indie Bands that try, the Indie Bands that don’t

Catchy indie pop songs are like London buses. You wait ages for one to come along and then two arrive at once. It’s virtuoso when such indie pop songs are toe tapping in rhythm, totally befitting the buzzed-up summer vibe gripping Britain at present. However, as is always the case with British indie pop groups, the music videos for such songs often veer from inspired to downright pathetic.

Franz Ferdinand‘s Right Action
At a time when Glasgow’s Franz Ferdinand seemed to have slid into by the numbers indie inertia, pretty much everyone is taken aback by how energised and young their new song sounds. Right Action brings to mind the triumph of Take Me Out, which was an enormously successful breakout single taken from their eponymous debut album that seemed to win every music award going back in 2004.
Franz Ferdinand is that rare thing in modern music: a bunch of intellectual art students who mesh their adoration of cultural history with British pop music. The video incorporates cubism, Dadaism, Russian avant-garde and Monty Python surrealism, creating the kind of clip that will court raised glasses from pretentious culture vultures everywhere.

Hot Chip’s Dark & Stormy
London’s indie electro maestros Hot Chip takes the art of music videos really seriously… at least they did till now. Dark & Stormy is a one-off single, a standalone effort made to mark the transition from their last album and whatever comes next. Therefore, it’s mightily disappointing that the group couldn’t even throw in a few rudimentary moving images to accompany what is a brilliant track. Dark & Stormy is some of the best music to have come out of Britain this year and deserves to have a heck of a video to do it justice. It’s at times like this one wishes I knew how to utilise the entry level editing software that came with the computer.

Friday, 26 July 2013

-Music Videos on my Mind- Joseph Coward’s “Children’s Bones”

The problem with blogging about music videos often concerns the lag between songs airing on radio stations and music labels not commissioning relevant visual accompaniments till long after. This may, at times, result in a sage pop culture blogger like I moving onto other things and not bothering to check up on the progress of said old song.
Lucky for Joseph Coward that this blog takes its job very seriously and keeps track of stuff most others would deem passé. It’s also rather cool that Joseph Coward is, in fact, the Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has gone all-method by relocating to east London and reinvented himself as an existentialist indie falsetto who croons in an affected British accent and all. He has duped all of us.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

-Music Videos on my Mind- Shy FX feat. Liam Bailey’s “Soon Come”

This will perhaps make greater sense to second generation British readers in that they are a demographic that often seems caught between two stools; cut off from the antiquated heritage Britain prizes so eagerly, while not able to fully claim complete identification with the backgrounds of their immigrant parents.
Britain is a nation of class and elitism. Most opportunities are open to anyone with a red passport, but as people of colour, it’s hard to envision ethnically diverse British people becoming part of the Monarchy, or even having a shot at being Prime Minister, or even being cast in Downton Abbey. That’s just not the way Britain works, and there seems to be a taciturn acceptance of such things.
In that sense, there is always a fascination with the motherlands of our respective heritages, constantly contemplating what music our parents’ listened to in their youths? What dance crazes were popular where they came from? Why did they give it  all up for a life in ye olde worlde Britain?
It’s easy to take drum and bass producer Shy FX for granted, having consistently worked on the London jungle music scene for the last twenty years and produced as many hits as misses. Soon Come, his collaboration with Liam Bailey, is pure atavism on Shy FX’s part, harking back to a time and culture that seems so integral to whom he is, yet so distant to where he’s at. It’s magical, nonetheless.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Cheap is the new Expensive (in the world of music videos at least)

Blimey, when I was a wee lad there used to be things called ‘event’ music videos. These weren’t the slapdash, five white guys in a basement playing guitars; these were huge undertakings that cost a fortune to put together and would be trailed on television weeks in advance to whet appetites. The internet wasn’t what it is today, so you’d have to call up friends (on the house phone) for an immediate response to what they thought, or wait till school the next day to deliberate and gage reactions.
Now the picture is way different. The music industry lacks funds to really splash out on music videos and kids are permanently wired to each other in entirely surreal ways. Also, the focus today is largely geared to pop music, which means the white guys with guitars have to set their sights even lower. Everything is just too damn expensive to do and the risks outweigh benefits. There is too much floating around in the ether which means to make a mark you have to go really exorbitantly big or get creative.
Access to affordable technology means that even indie bands can hire a geeky mate to sit at a laptop and create something which looks far pricier than what it is. Just look at these beauties for proof:

Young Galaxy’s New Summer
This Canadian indie pop group have unleashed one of the most jaw-dropping action pieces you’ll see this summer, and a cinema ticket isn’t even required. Some will argue they’ve just pillaged the test effects B-roll from the Matrix movies, but it’s the way they’ve used it that whacks a punch. This is more poetically exciting than any blockbuster I’ve come across this year.
Foals’ Bad Habit
At first I was convinced this video was alluding to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), but then I realised I don’t know what I’m actually talking about. Also, one wonders whether the inclusion of a completely naked model mitigates any sanctimonious intentions. Still, it’s big and has some nifty visuals to boot.
Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Some Time Alone, Alone
This slot was going to These New Puritans’ Fragment Two, but the song sends me to sleep even though the video looks pretty impressive. Instead, you get Melody’s Echo Chamber with Some Time Alone, Alone. The video looks like they made it on a swanky smart phone while out on a visit to Flamingo Land, however, this is far too gorgeous a song to overlook, and the clip very much suits the sound and feel.